Thursday, October 10, 2013

I'm Making a Hat

Boy#1 wanted YOU in 1995.
We're three weeks away now from the Wedding of the Century, and friends, being the mother of the groom is the best possible role one can have in this kind of production. All I've had to do is find something to wear, which I have done (and no, it is not beige), and voila! Ready to go!

Boy#1, Lovely Girl, and her mother all are so completely efficient and organized that I have been able to bask in the glow of the upcoming nuptials without lifting as much as a pinky finger to help. It's been so much fun, in fact, that I have felt a little guilty so this week I asked One if I was falling down on my responsibilities.

"Is there anything I need to be doing?" I asked him.

A few hours later he had conferred with Lovely Girl, and yes, there was something they needed. Could I order the candy for the candy buffet? Here's the website, he said, just pick out something in our price range. I immediately was transported back exactly 18 years, to when Boy#1 was nine years old.

It was the week before Halloween and all of the Boys knew exactly what they wanted to be on this most wonderful of kid holidays. Boy#2 was Robin Hood, Boy#3 was pirate (or was that a different year?, and I believe Boy #4 was...a bumblebee, maybe? Anyway, Boy#1 wanted to be Uncle Sam, which was the perfect choice for my politics-obsessed third grader.

As I always did, I left the costuming until just a wee bit late but I had a PLAN. I knew exactly which pieces I needed to sew, which elements I would buy at the thrift shop, which accessories I would cannibalize from other years and other closets. I would be cutting it close to get all four kids decked out in time for the costume parades, but I was ON IT. The night before Halloween I was a veritable whirlwind as I cut and sewed and hot-glued and costumed.

And then Husband's parents showed up. As they saw me whirling the first words out of their mouths were "What can we do to help?"

You know how much I loved them, right? I did, honestly. They could not have been better in-laws, and I truly miss them. But at that moment, I felt as if I had acquired the kind of help one acquires when a toddler wants to help. It's the kind of help that starts with the letters U and N and ends with FUL. They were completely well-intentioned, but I had my PLAN. It was a delicately balanced thing, and too much help would be...not so much.

So I grabbed a sheet of posterboard and threw it toward them.

"Here!" I said. "Make an Uncle Sam hat."

Do you know how long it took two fully-grown, completely competent, manually-dextrous adults to turn out one cardboard hat for an eight-year-old? Four hours. Each. A total of eight man-hours to cut out a brim and a hat body, and glue a ribbon around it.

My friends, that hat was a work of art. It was contoured to fit a nine-year-old head, and as of a couple of years ago, it was still in our costume stash in the attic. (Oh, yeah, I'm ready for grandkids.) In that same amount of time, though, I finished Uncle Sam's vest, found the tiny American flag he would wave, made the entire Robin Hood costume (including a quiver of bow and arrows), and kitted out the younger two boys. I had my plan, and it worked to perfection. Including the part of the plan that kept my in-laws out of my hair.

Last night as I perused the bulk candy site, choosing between the delicious and the beautiful, toggling between the chocolate autumn leaves and the whimsical sourballs, pondering which would look most beautiful on the turquoise vanity that will hold the candy buffet, I wondered if I should consult Lovely Girl before I made any final decisions. Then I laughed at myself.

I'm not choosing candy here--I'm making a hat.


  1. Candy buffet???? Oh I hope to one day be in charge of one of those at my boy's wedding!